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Top Five Destinations of Austin, TX

Two things come immediately to mind when I think of Austin, Texas. First, there is South by Southwest (SXSW), a huge movie and music festival that happens every year and in 2013 it will be from March 8th to March 17th. Second, there is Austin City Limits, the long running PBS concert show that features some pretty great bands playing in The Moody Theater in Austin. There’s also the associated Austin City Limits Music Festival that runs from October 12th to the 14th this year.

The great Drafthouse

Having been to Austin only a couple of times, and both times for SXSW, I spent most of my time going venue to venue and trying to squeeze as much of the festival as possible into what seemed like a way too short of a time. If you go to one of these festivals, that’s what your experience will be like as well. (As an alternative to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, you can try to go to see a taping of Austin City Limits when you visit, but you’d have to get really lucky or be ready to travel in under a week.) However, there are a few other things to experience in this great city, and I’ve been lucky to experience a few of the top five.

Visit the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library

Located on the campus of the University of Texas – Austin, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is like any of the presidential libraries, a great look at the history of the United States through the prism of one of its 13 leaders since Herbert Hoover (though more exist through different governing bodies.) Once done with the library, a walk around the university in the spring, summer or fall would not be a bad thing.

See a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse

If this no-texting PSA (or the dramatic reenactment by Patton Oswalt) isn’t enough to convince you that the Alamo Drafthouse is an awesome place to see a movie, maybe some of the other things there will. There is beer. There is food. At the Ritz, there is Terror Tuesday, where you can see a classic horror film for a dollar. There’s also Weird Wednesday, Music Monday and nights to quote along with movies like “The Big Lebowski,” “Caddyshack” or “The Goonies.” Plus, this year they are celebrating the films of 1982, and that includes “The Road Warrior,” “Star Trek II,” “E.T.” and “Tron.” Believe me, after looking at the May and June guide, I could go on with this list for quite some time.

Eat some Amy’s Ice Cream

I’m a big fan of ice cream and the first time I had Amy’s Ice Creams Mexican Vanilla flavor, I demanded to go back again and again. There’s also Blackberry, Banana Cream Pie, Butterfinger, Chocolate Raspberry…mmmmm. I want to go to there.

Hang around Zilker Metropolitan Park

No matter what time of the year it is, you can find something to do at Zilker Metropolitan Park. It’s scorching hot? Go for a dip in the Barton Springs Pool, a spring fed pool that has an average temperature of 68 degrees. Feeling like a hippie? Go play nine holes on their disc golf course. Feeling cultured? Go to the Zilker Hillside Theater and enjoy Shakespeare in the Park.

Visit the O. Henry Museum

The O. Henry Museum, devoted to the guy who brought us “The Gift of the Magi,” is also home to the Pun-Off World Championships. The championship takes place May 19th, so there is still time to head to Austin for the festivities.

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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